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Gretchen

Use books for escape- typically avoid nonfiction. Enjoy action-romance, espionage/military, sci-fi. Skilled writing is most important.

ratings
334
REVIEWS
55
FOLLOWING
9
FOLLOWERS
18
HELPFUL VOTES
72

  • Slow Burn

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By E. B. Walters
    • Narrated By Nina Naughton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (46)

    She doesn't want to deal with the past... Ten years ago, Ashley Fitzgerald witnessed the death of her parents in a tragic fire and her mind blocked the memory. She pretends to have moved on, is a successful artist and photographer, until she opens her door to a stranger, assumes he's a model and asks him to strip to his briefs. He plans to expose the truth... Wealthy businessman Ron Noble has the body, the jet, the fast cars and the women, but he hides a deadly secret.

    Leesa says: "Ugh, maybe is was the narrator, maybe the story"
    "Story good - reader wasn't"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story was ok, but the reader ruined my experience. She "read" the material rather than performed it.

    This is a straight forward 'who dunnit' with a romantic story line. The story is not particularly original, but probably better than it seemed with the poor reader

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hidden Steel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Doranna Durgin
    • Narrated By Amy Landon
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Steve Spaneas doesn't have a clue. Who'd have thought that the woman who stumbles her way into his gym, looking and acting so very much like a street person off her meds, is really a CIA case officer whose memory has been obliterated by experimental drugs used by some very bad people? And seriously, who'd have thought that her attempts to untangle the few clues she's got would lead him right into her world of spies and counterspies, death and deception--and holy cow, stockpiled nuclear weapons?

    Gretchen says: "2.5 stars of potential"
    "2.5 stars of potential"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A CIA operative wakes handcuffed to a bed in a strange room. Groggy and disoriented, she does not know who she is or answers to the questions of her captors. She escapes, stumbling into a community gym where the owner has seen mentally ill patients on the run in the past and recognizes the same symptoms in the confused woman. He feels compelled to help her. As a chase by evil-doers for the woman ensues, she begins putting the pieces of her life’s puzzle together. My wording here is deliberately cliché to suit the premise and plot.

    Even with an over-used storyline, I still give this book 2.5 stars for 3 reasons: the writer’s mechanics are solid, male-female role reversal, and adequate dialog. There are no interesting twists or deep characterizations, but the author has an effortless style. I like the uniquely strong female lead with the male lead in a secondary, but not simpering, role.

    This book did not pull me in, but with only one mediocre rating in audible, I was expecting a near disaster. It is not. Even so, the plot is not strong enough to thrill, the suspense lacks intrigue, the protagonist’s relationship is not a romance, and the dialog is not entertaining enough to carry the story.

    In short, this author shows potential, but needs to deepen her research and apply much more creativity across the board.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cold Blooded: The Nick McCarty Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Bernard Lee DeLeo, RJ Parker Publishing, Inc
    • Narrated By Mike Dennis
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Nick McCarty decides after ten years of black ops assassinations it's time for a change. Against the wishes of his shadow government bosses he has inexplicably managed to become a best-selling author. The novels have made him world famous and provided a cover for his overseas sanctions. But Nick feels something's missing. An employer orders the death of a woman in the witness protection program. Nick sees something in the woman's picture reminding him of someone he knew long ago.

    Matt says: "Fantastic"
    "Assassin and famous writer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An assassin uses his professional knowledge to become a famous writer who travels around the world. He uses his writing career as a cover for his true passion, killing. At the beginning of this story, Nick the assassin targets a woman whose identity under witness protection is leaked. Nick decides to take advantage of her dilemma to deepen his cover with a ready-made family; so, instead of killing his target, he hooks up with her and her little girl. To further complicate the premise, Nick’s employer disagrees with his choice and targets him too. The new ‘family’ goes on the run.

    All characters in this story are completely unlikable – even the little girl. (Well, her dog is ok.) They think little of violence and killing. As Nick survives one unlikely scenario after another, the mother squirms a little at the violence, but recovers quickly and doesn't second guess her relationship with a self-proclaimed psychopathic killer. With only occasional recognition that they make horrid role models, adults shrug and chuckle at a young girl’s blood thirsty attitude. Unbelievable coincidences and rescues are non-stop; so the story moves quickly, lessening the pain of this book’s many problems.

    The reader’s robotic style is difficult to hear for long periods, but it fits the main character well, as the assassin feels as deeply as a machine.

    Overall, don’t waste a credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Graveyard of Memories: John Rain, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Barry Eisler
    • Narrated By Barry Eisler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (149)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (129)

    What makes a legendary assassin? For John Rain, it was the lessons of love, war, and betrayal he learned in Tokyo in 1972. Fresh from the killing fields of Southeast Asia, Rain works as a bagman under the watchful eye of his CIA handler, delivering cash to corrupt elements of the Japanese government. But when a delivery goes violently wrong, Rain finds himself in the crosshairs of Japan’s most powerful yakuza clan.

    katelyn says: "Eisler does it again"
    "Love, war, and betrayal"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Eisler writes “Memories” from John Rain’s view point, explaining his fall into assassination as a profession. After the Vietnam war, Rain stays in Asia, living in Tokyo without belonging or meaning; but, for a 20 year-old lacking education, he lives comfortably. Not having yet developed his calculated constraint seen in previous books, Rain reacts rashly to three punks and accidentally kills a relative of a powerful clan. Rain’s lack of experience and relative naiveté are challenges he needs to overcome to stay alive and turn the tables on a growing list of enemies, including the Japanese government and his own employer. While in hiding, Rain becomes romantically involved with a Korean woman, whom he unwittingly places in danger. As the publisher’s summary says, Rain learns, “lessons of love, war, and betrayal.”

    As always, Eisler’s descriptions of Tokyo are vivid without unnecessary details or wordy descriptions. It brings together so many elements of good storytelling and good writing that I am grateful to another listener for highly recommending Barry Eisler’s books.

    This series reminds me of Child’s Jack Reacher series. I like Child’s writing, but I do not understand the reason for the Reacher series’ success over that of the Rain series. Perhaps the Rain series’ isn’t appreciated as much because its premise is assassination; or, perhaps its fuzzy distinction between good and evil is unappealing; or, perhaps unlike Reacher, Rain’s remoteness is not a choice, rather a result of childhood experiences as a Japanese-American. All of which are pluses for me. Also, Eisler’s character development is deeper; the scenery is much richer and more exotic; its research is extensive; and, the plots are drawn from espionage and current events.

    Eisler narrates this himself – and does so excellently.

    Overall, I highly recommend this series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Knock Out: Worth the Fight

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Michele Mannon
    • Narrated By Rachel Fulginiti
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (53)

    Logan Rettino never imagined she'd fall so far. Dropped by her ex on national TV, she's gone from prima ballerina to ring card girl, reduced to revving up the crowds before MMA bouts. However distasteful she finds her new job, it pays well…and she needs the money if she's ever going to rebuild her life. Promised a huge bonus if she can convince a brooding, gifted welterweight to keep fighting, she'll do whatever it takes to earn his trust. Keane O'Shea is unbeatable in the octagon. A former marine, he fights with a ruthlessness no gym jockey can match.

    Boredom says: "I loved this book"
    "Didn't knock me out"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An ex-ballet dancer is reduced to acting as an 'octagon girl,' walking the octagon shaped cage in skimpy clothing, holding round cards for MMA fights. Her continued employment in the high paying job is dependent upon her success in keeping a former marine turned MMA welterweight in the cage and winning. The dancer moves in with the fighter under the flimsy premise to help his tortured soul. The two try to resist each other, but predictably cannot.

    The story is slow and foreseeable as interactions between the ballerina, lusty men, and the fighter are repeated several times with similar results, which are woven into an on-again-off-again relationship cycle of the two main characters. The author's use of the ballerina's ex-boyfriend and the fighter's playmate as antagonists is weakly executed. It's likely the author's goal was to explore sexual tension between two opposite characters, but their development is not deep enough to be intriguing.

    The book reads as though the author jumped onto the MMA writing bandwagon for the sole purpose of selling books, rather than based on intimate experience or particular interest in the subject. Although the author's storytelling lacks creativity and depth, her writing technique shows glimmers of talent, earning a second star on a one star book.

    Overall, don't waste a credit.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Busted: The Odyssey of Holly Bunn

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Bill Wetterman
    • Narrated By Lara Wells
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Holly Bunn has spent her whole life crawling out of hell. She owns a Porsche, a condominium, and tons of size four clothes. Except for her wealthy Orlando clients, she's a loner. Her face and figure pay the bills. By forty, she'll need to have enough saved to retire. In her line of work, she's responsible for her own retirement plan. A runaway at 12, she and God talk about starting a halfway house for victims of abuse. God protects Holly, whoever God is. And with His assistance, maybe she can help others. Problem - a guy has entered her life - a gorgeous man with a sweet personality.

    Gretchen says: "Oddly entertaining"
    "Oddly entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I listened to this a couple of weeks ago and put off rating it because for the first time, I do not know how I feel about a book. I do know that I found its premise unpleasant; its characters unusual; and its plot unconvincing. Even so, it kept my attention, the writer shows talent, and I thought about the main character long after I finished the book. I settled on 3 stars for these reasons and added a 4th star as a salute to a writer who threw out all the rules established by authors and publishers grappling for mass sales.

    The unpleasant premise to which I refer involves Holly Bunn, a prostitute whose good looks, pleasant demeanor, and strange naivete generates a demand for her services that raise her rates to amazing heights. The story follows her through a handful of years when she falls for a virgin, who is also a twisted vigilante; connects with the wrong people; and eventually ends up in dire circumstances - and yet, she somehow remains simple and guileless.

    The author's portrayal of Holly - a prostitute's lack of bitterness, her strange combination of kindness and selfish behavior toward those close to her, and her response to events in comparison to the responses of others - is the best aspect of this book. Perhaps his goal was to simply tell a story, but his main character is intriguing enough to carry an unlikely plot that takes place in the darkest parts of society.

    Overall, try this book if you are extremely bored with your usual consumption or if you are a bit experimental with your reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tangled: The Tangled Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Emma Chase
    • Narrated By Sebastian York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (745)
    Performance
    (701)
    Story
    (701)

    Drew Evans is handsome and arrogant, he makes multimillion dollar business deals and seduces New York’s most beautiful women with just a smile. So why has he been shuttered in his apartment for seven days, miserable and depressed? He’ll tell you he has the flu. But we all know that’s not really true. Katherine Brooks is brilliant, beautiful and ambitious. When Kate is hired as the new associate at Drew’s father’s investment banking firm, every aspect of the dashing playboy’s life is thrown into a tailspin.

    Jordy says: "Think Wallbanger meets Beautiful Bastard...."
    "Unrestrained fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A successful, self-absorbed investment banker spends his weekends jumping into bed with any passable female. When he meets a new co-worker, he begins to rethink his lifestyle.

    This book isn't good because of its plot. It isn't good because readers cheer on the lead character. Its good because it is written in a first-person style that is different from most contemporary romances. It's good because the narration is humorous, unrestrained, and self-aware.

    The writer's skill warrants 5 stars, but the main character is so extremely unlikable and chauvinistic towards women and relationships, that it is disturbing at times. The writer intended this, but there were a couple of times when I didn't find it so entertaining. She also uses some outdated terms that are strange, such as, "secretary" instead of "assistant" and computer "discs" (haven't seen those in 15 years).

    The narrator is fabulous - perfect for this story.

    Overall, well worth the credit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • No One's Angel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Kelly Walker
    • Narrated By Johanna Fairview
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (28)

    Tess used to spend more hours than she'd care to admit playing her favorite computer game, using the nickname Angel. Angel disappeared from their nightly games, it nearly destroyed Arion. He threw himself into work and women, but he can't help knowing the one-night stands will never compare to the angel who haunts his dreams. At first, when she shows up soaking wet and scared-shitless on his doorstep, he thinks his prayers have been answered. But the more Arion tries to keep Angel close, the more her fear drives her away.

    Candateshia Pafford says: "Totally AWESOMENESS!"
    "Satisfactory plot but serious grammatical errors"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A young woman, Tess, disappears from an online gaming world, which haunts her online flirt, Axle. After a year, Tess unexpectedly appears on Axle's doorstep to escape her abusive, drug dealing boyfriend. The two admit to each other that their longtime, online relationship was more than a friendship as they work through a number of misunderstandings and uncertainties; meanwhile, Tess's ex hunts her.

    The plot works, but the writing's grammatical errors are cringe worthy. Neither the plot nor character are particularly original and some of the similes are awkward - even unintentionally funny. Even so, the author demonstrates originality in her writing voice and certainly has potential. She should continue to write, but needs to employ a competent copy editor.

    The reader is talented, but the production is poor, i.e. awkward silences, echos, etc. Still, the problems are only mildly distracting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Deadly Contact

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Lara Lacombe
    • Narrated By April Lowe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    In one passionate night, Special Agent James Reynolds and scientist Kelly Jarvis went from friends to lovers. Then Kelly walked away with only an apology. Now James is charged with solving a bioterrorist attack-and Dr. Jarvis works at the suspected lab. Is Kelly an accomplice or a victim? Just what are her secrets that drove her from James’s bed? Soon one thing becomes clear: the ghosts of her past have nothing on the terrorists targeting her and Washington, D.C

    Gretchen says: "Romance and implausible terrorism"
    "Romance and implausible terrorism"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Two good friends spend a night in bed and as a result lose their friendship. The couple cross paths months later when the special agent James investigates a bio-terrorist attack and Kelly is questioned.

    The majority of the romance (and book) involves tragic pasts that result in mistrust and misunderstandings that keep the couple apart- nothing original. The investigation leads to some action but more would have been better. There are no big plot twists or surprises.

    Overall, lacks depth - 2 1/2 stars so save your credit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • License to Thrill: A Romantic Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Stephanie Bond
    • Narrated By Erin Mallon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    License to Thrill is a romantic adventure in the spirit of super-cool, super-sexy Agent 007! He wasn't the man she wanted to trust...but when the stakes turn deadly, it's nice to have a hard body between her and trouble! She wasn't the woman he expected to fall for...and he has a bad feeling a bulletproof vest isn't going to protect his heart this time!

    Gretchen says: "Light mystery, light romance"
    "Light mystery, light romance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The publisher calls License to Thrill a romantic adventure, but there is very little action. This is a typical bad-guys-after-innocent-girl story, whom the good guy works to protect. It's shallow, with little intrigue but is okay because it is a book that doesn't take itself too seriously - typical Stephanie Bond.

    The publisher also refers to the main male character as a "super-cool, super-sexy Agent 007!" but this doesn't come through without reading 'in between the lines' quite a bit. The female protagonist is the one aspect that is not typical - she isn't amazingly beautiful, thin, or rich. She even wears glasses. The two make the most unlikely couple, but somehow they fit.

    Overall, don't have high expectations if you spend a credit on this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight Secrets: Wildfire Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Ella Grace
    • Narrated By Marguerite Gavin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (44)

    Savannah Wilde is the first of her sisters to return to Midnight, Alabama when a grueling case leads the young prosecutor to seek shelter in the quiet of the once grand Wilde mansion. But when she finds letters casting doubt on her family's dark, shameful past, she realizes that peace in Midnight is a shallow façade and sinister secrets lurk beneath the surface. Protecting her is Zach Tanner, once the town's bad boy, now the new police chief - and he still has a wild hold over her.

    Gretchen says: "Small town girl returns to a mystery"
    "Small town girl returns to a mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The mystery of this story involves an old crime - the murder/suicide of the parents of 3 sisters, Savannah, Samantha, and Sabrina. The girls, who were raised by their grandfather, leave their small Alabama town when they become adults. After their grandfather eventually dies, one sister returns to sell the old family home and discovers letters that raise questions she must pursue.

    The romance of this story begins when the sister runs into her first love, a local bad boy, who left for the military and is now the new police chief. There is more to their history together than either of them is aware, which is slowly revealed throughout the book.

    Neither the mystery nor the romance thread are particularly unique or interesting, but the two woven together kept me interested. The majority of character development takes place in the first section of the book with a short trip to the sister and her bad boy's past high school lives - it's the best written section. Overall, the author is of average talent and I have certainly listened to worse. The reader did a slightly better than average job - more of a 3 and a half star than a 4 star.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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